Monday, February 13, 2006
Random musingsA few days ago, I had the great pleasure of catching the train. Regular readers of this blog will know just how much I adore this form of transport. Funnily enough, the journey went pretty well. OK there was a minor derailment on the preceding train, and I actually spent more time on the bus than the train, but when looked at in the wider context of my worst train journeys, this wasn't too bad.
However, I got to thinking whilst at the station. My travel plans had been necessarily vague, and so I had to buy an open return. Therefore, I didn't actually have any idea when the next (and quickest) train home was. I turned up at the station and found that the printed timetable was no use (I was hoping to travel to the tiny local station near me to avoid paying a large taxi fare from the central station, and it wasn't listed). I also knew that I had to avoid London (restricted ticket) and that I would have to make at least 3 changes.
The queue to the ticket booth was about 20 people long, and I am loathe to queue unless I have to. What to do? Suddenly, I had a brainwave! The station had automated ticket machines. Brilliant! They were (apparently) powered by thetrainline.com, so I could just pretend I am going to buy a ticket, choose the route etc, then cancel before I have to hand over my credit card. But.... they don't have routing information! You just have to buy the standard fare ticket.
This seemed weird to me. After all, if it is powered by the trainline.com and is (presumably) connected to the internet, why not save customer's time and allow them full access. Hell, they could even make money by flogging Columbus travel insurance, or recommending hotels and car hire etc, like they do on their internet site. And presumably, the development costs would be cheaper if they simply use the existing website for the basic infrastructure?
And then I realised why. Because if they did that, customers might inadvertently buy a cheaper ticket - and we can't have that can we?
Is the small team of pixies that maintain the Electronic Programme Guide for Freeview digital TV on strike? Today (the 12th), I wanted to record a programme this afternoon on Channel 4. The next programme listed on the EPG was for the 15th. WTF? This is not unusual. Often whole chunks of daily schedules are missing, or the dates are all muddled up. It is not uncommon for there to be no programme information at all on any channel (yet the next week's schedules are there, so there isn't a problem with the data channel on the TV signal).
Weird. And just a teensie weensie bit annoying. A bit like June Sarpong.
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